Text Messages from God

Text messaging has become the staple of communication for many these days.  It has become a quick and easy way to communicate with those around us…and a quick and easy way to grow a personal relationship with others.  The world is all about speed these days, wanting to keep in touch with each other at all times, it has almost become an addiction for many in trying to keep up with each other.

Facebook, Twitter, Text Messaging, Snapchat and the list continues – each a way for people to keep up with others in the busyness of life, and keep tabs on what each other are doing.  We use our status messages on Facebook and Twitter to pass along prayer requests, inform others of what we’re doing or pass along little inspirational quotes or news quickly.  We use text messaging to quickly make plans when we can’t make a phone call, because – unless our ringer is turned up to top volume – we can do it without interrupting those around us…Instant communication has become the norm in our society.

Text Messaging can also be a way for many to say things to others that we aren’t able to say to them face-to-face, or a way to say something if you don’t want to see their reaction, because it is something that is hard to say.  It is also a way to avoid the seriousness of a conversation that we may not quite want to have with someone else…which could be for any reason, but in many cases because we don’t want to see their reaction (although in some cases that is why people say things to others).

Lets look at three things that we learn from Text Messaging about life…

1 – Communication

2 – Immediacy

3 – Impersonal aspect

First, Text messaging is used for communication: Text has become a constant communication factor in many of our lives.  Whether trying to learn something about someone or a situation, we can also use it to get to know someone – to find out the details about them and learn more about them.  The fact about text messaging is that it has become a way for many people to continually keep in conversation over a day via short messages.  Many people use it to keep up with their kids, with family members, or to keep a conversation up with each other…whatever the case, text is used for communication.

Second is the Immediacy of Text Messaging: We can usually rely on text messaging to be a quick way of delivering a message to others.  If we have to cancel plans, the first thing many of us do is pull out our phone and send a text.  If we can’t talk on the phone because of work, or because of the type of event we are at…we just pull our cell phone out and send a quick text message to talk to someone.  With text messaging we have become a society who is in constant contact with each other.

Third, Text Messaging can be impersonal: While the other two aren’t necessarily bad, this one can be depending on how it is used.  Text can be a good way for everyone to keep in contact, and it can be a way to get to know someone personally.  It is also a way to have an impromptu meeting with someone when you can’t meet face-to-face…But this can also be used in a bad way.  The fact that you don’t have to see someone face-to-face can be used to say things that we’ve always wanted to say to others, without seeing them in person.

There are many who will use that to their advantage by taking the opportunity to break off a relationship, to say something harsh, even bless someone out…simply because you don’t have to see their reaction.  You can say something to another person…and leave it there…for them to deal with, because you have finished (or have you).

I want to take these three principles and apply them to the longest and greatest text message that was ever sent…that message, The Bible.  The Apostles were unable to meet with everyone face-to-face…so they wrote letters.  The Prophets were unable to tell their story to everyone…so they wrote it down.  But most importantly, The Bible has become God’s personal text message to each of his children…

Communication:

God uses His word to converse with us on a daily basis.  The answers to all of life’s questions can be found within the cover of the Holy Bible.  God uses the words of His Apostles to share with His children the story of His Son.  The Bible is our text message from God, if we have a question, we can ask, and He speaks to us through text, The Text.

We weren’t able to see the Apostles or Prophets, or even Jesus face-to-face, but because of the Scripture we can see the message and get the answer we are looking for to all of life’s situations…There is not single thing we may face in this life that hasn’t already been faced in life…the fact is that almost every situation we could ever face is covered by scripture.

Immediacy:

If you have a Bible, it’s always there when you need it.  As Christians we should always carry it with us.  Peter addresses this in his first epistle…

”But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…”

— 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)

Peter is saying to “always be prepared to give an answer” to those who ask us about our hope…If we don’t have the complete answer to our hope, the scripture does.  Not only should it always be with us, it’s always right on target with the answers to our questions…and most of the answers are quick and easy finds if you use online helps or reference books.  Most of the Bibles that we can get today have a dictionary and concordance in the back for reference…which in most cases can serve as a topical reference.

Impersonal:

Scripture is only impersonal in the fact that the writers of the Bible do not have to be in the same room as us, because they have written it down.  We do not have to see them face-to-face to get their advice on something.  But Scripture is personal because it is given to us by God, our Father, to give us the answers to life’s everyday problems.  A good way of looking at the Bible is this – B.I.B.L.E. – Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.  The Bible is our Owner’s Manual…our text message from God…our constant communication with our Father.

Paul reminds Timothy of something that is still true for each of us today…

16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

— 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV)

God sent us a text message many years ago…while we’re thinking about it, He also sent a picture message in the image of His Son…and he asks us to be a Snapchat/Instagram story for him everyday in all that we do.  We are created in His image (Genesis 1:26)…created to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29)…we are His picture message to the world…what does your message say?

Fuhgeddaboudit!

“Fuhgeddaboudit!”

“As far as the east is from the west; so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

— Psalm 103:12 (NIV)

David understood something that each of us as Christians need to understand each and every day…God forgives – and forgets!  Think about it this way, what David is basically saying here is that God has looked at our sin, and in De Niro type fashion has looked at us and said, “Fuhgeddaboudit!”

Jesus was God’s only Son, the one who came and died in our place on the cross of Calvary.  Jesus also knew that the only way we as the children of God would be truly saved was for him to come to the earth and live the life we live…love the ones we love…die our death on our cross, so that we might have life.  Jesus looked into our lives, saw the muck and the mire and whispered, “Fuhgeddaboudit!”

Forget about it…a pretty good way of looking at life…has the past got you down?  Forget it, move on! Is it hard for you to get over something, Forget it – it’s not worth the pain of remembering it.  The only person in your life that can truly forget the past is you…because you’re the only one that fully knows your past (other than God).  God knows our past, but we see in Psalm 103 that He has removed our sin from us, as far as the east is from the west…so God has forgotten more than we’ve ever even learned.  Not only has He forgotten it, he has removed it from our lives…

Why is it East to West?  Because there is no end, think of the Earth – if you start going North, eventually you’ll cross the North Pole and you’ll be going South again…but if you go from East to West you’ll never travel in an eastward direction because you’ve not turned around. In other words, the distance is endless, and that is how far we are separated from our sin.

God has looked down and said to His Children, “Here is my Son, in whom I’m pleased…He will save you, He will give you life…He will separate you from your sin – so, Fuhgeddaboudit!

Forget your sin, forget your past, forget the worry you have for your future – forget it all, because it’s in the hands of the Almighty God – Creator, Redeemer, Savior, Friend.  The next time your sin gets you down remember that it has been removed as far as the east is from the west…and using that logic…it will never return, you’re going in an opposite direction…so keep on keepin’ on…and…FUHGEDDABOUDIT!

Go Home and Tell Others

With a number of churches celebrating their Homecoming during August and September it got me thinking about the story of the demon possessed man in Mark 5.  This “Mad Man” was living in a cave and had been shunned by the community.  He was completely overcome by demonic possession, and when Jesus finds him he asks for a name.  The response the man gives is, “We are Legion, for we are many.”

This man is overcome by a number of demons that have ruined his life…they have caused him to have to go into hiding in the caves, and Jesus steps in. Jesus delivers the man from this possession, freeing him from the bondage he was facing, and opening him up to a new world of opportunities.  We then see the man begging Jesus for the opportunity to go with Him and stay by His side, but Jesus refuses and tells the man, “Go HOME, to your own people and tell them what the Lord has done for you and how He had mercy upon you. (Mk. 5:19)”

That got me realizing that we all have a deliverance story.  A story of what we came from, but no one story is greater than another.  We have all faced demons in our lives, and many times we have failed to even realize that we have been delivered.  Other times, we hear stories of how God has delivered others, we listen to their testimony, and we find ourselves wishing we had a “good” testimony…but I want to tell you today…you have a great testimony.

We get wrapped up in thinking that we have to have a story like this possessed man from the caves, or maybe a Damascus Road encounter like Paul, or even a story like Peter walking on the water for our testimony to be what we would consider worth telling.  I want to encourage everyone today to stop comparing your story to someone you know and simply start owning the story that is yours.  We have all been delivered from a life of sin, and no matter what we came from our story is worth telling based on the words of Jesus in Mark 5.

Jesus tells this man to go to his home and to bear witness to his family and friends of the great things that God has done for him and how God has shown him mercy.  We can all do that! We can all go home and tell of the great things that God has done for us…we can all tell our deliverance story, and it doesn’t have to be a New York Times bestseller for us to have a story that can effectively lead someone to Christ…it simply has to tell of the mercy and saving power of what Christ has done and how you’ve been delivered from your past; a story that tells of how you’ve been freed from your demons.

Today, stop comparing yourself to everyone around you and own who you are…own your story and your salvation…own that you have been delivered from sin and destruction and how you now have life in Christ.  Trust me, you have a great story to tell…so go home, and start telling it! Offer someone else the same grace that was offered to you by letting them know what you came from…but most importantly, where you’re going because you were delivered.

Dead Air

One of the most feared things when it comes to broadcast media is “Dead Air.”  The moment when silence is all that is being seen or heard, a moment that can be so deafening to people who are listening or watching.  It is a moment when everyone scrambles to fix the problems.

I got to thinking about this as it relates to the Christian walk, and I realized that too many times we are letting others see our “Dead Air” moments.  In radio you want to fill all the silent moments with either music, information, or some type of message to make sure that all moments are filled with sound.  I feel that we can all take a lesson from this for our lives as followers of Christ.

When we live out our Christian walk, we should take the opportunity to always be doing something to show Christ to those around us.  Whether it is in helping someone, or the message that we are sharing with our lips, we should always be giving an answer showing who we serve, be it in action or in deed.  We are called to a higher purpose when it comes to our lives.

In 1 Peter 3:15 it says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”

I challenge each of you today to take this opportunity to say where your heart stands.  Always be prepared for those you will come into contact with.  You never know who you are going to contact during a day, and in many cases, you will be dealing with lost souls who are searching for answers.  Many times we are being watched unaware.

Always be ready to give an answer to every one who asks, and even those that don’t, for the hope that is in you…do this through the example that you set on a daily basis.  Let today be the day that someone sees Jesus in you…don’t let your “Dead Air” speak louder than the Savior.  Remember, you may be the only Jesus that someone will see.